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An overview of the Skilled Migrant visa category (SMC)

The Skilled Migrant Category is based upon a points system awarding points for age qualification, work experience, family connections and a NZ-offer of employment.

It also awards bonus points for special circumstances such as, qualifications or work experience in areas of nationally recognised skills shortage. Bonus point are attributed for job offers outside the Auckland region.

To apply under the Skilled Migrant Category, you must be aged 56 or under, meet the skill level for your occupation, have qualifications and work experience that is “recognised” and meet English language, health, and character requirements.

Before you apply, you need to send an Expression of Interest (EOI) telling Immigration New Zealand (INZ) about your work experience, qualifications and capacity to settle and contribute to New Zealand.

Your (EOI) is then scored, if you can reach above 160 points you are then offered the opportunity to make a residence application.

In our experience, many people incorrectly calculate themselves as having bonus points which they do not qualify for. If you wish us to evaluate whether you have enough points to qualify for a residence visa, contact us for an assessment.

Can I include my family in this application?

Yes, for this visa, you can include your partner, and dependent children aged 24 and under, in your residence application at no further cost.

How much will it cost?

The EOI process costs $530 for the online form.

On the EOI form you provide lots of information about yourself, and your family, including occupation, qualifications and English language skills, which you are then awarded points for.

If your EOI is successful, then the application for the Skilled migrant visa is between $1890 to $2505 depending on what country of origin you are applying from.

INZ also charges a $580 levy to every skilled Migrant visa application.

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In summary:

If you are already based in New Zealand the fees including the Levy would be:

Online EOI application: $530

Visa application (including levy): $2470

If you are applying from the Pacific, the fee cost is:

Online EOI application: $530

Visa application (including levy): $2200

For an application from anywhere else in the world the fee cost is:

Online EOI application: $530

Visa application (including levy): $3085

With the fees at these rates it makes sense to get your application checked for eligibility by a professional to ensure you have the best chance of success!

How long does the process take?

Once you submit your EOI it goes into a pool of applications awaiting processing. The time it takes to be assessed depends on the caseload of (INZ) but can range between 2 to 4 months.

If your EOI is selected, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will complete a preliminary assessment of the information you provided and they may invite you to apply for residence.

You will be given four months to lodge the residency application from the date you receive your Invitation to Apply (ITA). You send Immigration New Zealand your application and supporting documents along with the INZ application fee.

Then the processing of the application starts. The length of time this takes depends on many factors but on average will take 6 – 18 months.

In general, if an application has no errors or incomplete information and provides all documentation in a manner that fits the INZ requirements then this application is more likely to be processed faster.

So, when would you need our help?

In our experience the Skilled Migrant Category produces a significant number of unsuccessful EOIs simply due to insufficient knowledge by the applicant.

Inexperience and incomplete information will guarantee a failed application…

For example, we find many clients provide a generic job description that won’t adequately explain what your role is in a context that INZ can accept.

Also, many people calculate themselves as having bonus points which they do not qualify for.

If you have established that you may be eligible to apply for a skilled migrant visa and would like us to

take our online assessment or contact us directly.

With so much at stake, why risk getting it wrong doing it on your own? Our immigration law experts can offer you a clear pathway to make the right decisions and apply under the correct criteria.

We provide assistance in building a case to supplement your application and can also help you clarify your application to make it easy for Immigration New Zealand to make a decision about your suitability.

Your visa application to realise your dream of moving to New Zealand is too important to risk making mistakes. Go with the best. Let us make sure it’s all correct and take away the stress of the process.

Get in touch with our team today.